kitchen cabinet terms

Rustic? Euro-Style? Dovetail? If you’re looking to update your kitchen cabinets, chances are your head is swimming with new and unfamiliar terms. That’s why we’ve put together this quick list of cabinet terminology and photos for your reference. As always, if you have questions about something you don’t see here, just reach out and ask us!

Glossary Of Cabinet Terms

Antiqued

Cabinets that were made to look old or resemble an antique through artificial means such as sanding, distressing, or painting. See also: Distressed.

Apron/Farmhouse Sink

A large sink that fits into the countertop with the front end of the sink exposed. Also known as farm sinks or apron front sinks.

Blind Corner

The result of two cabinet frames joining together at a corner and creating an oddly-shaped (and sometimes hard to use) space. Some solutions include lazy Susans, corner pull-out drawers, and magic corners (metal-rail shelves that swing out into the open).

Cope And Stick

A term referring to the joining of cabinet doors that describes only the joint. To tell if a cabinet has a cope-and-stick joint, look at a corner on the front of the cabinet door. If the boards sit perpendicular (or at a 90-degree angle) to each other, they are cope and stick. See also: Mitered.

Corbels

Decorative and supportive brackets that jut out from a wall and hold weight. Used to add visual focus and a design element in kitchen islands, vent hoods, shelves, and cabinets (as shown in photo).

Corner Brace

A brace made of metal or wood that attaches the opposite sides of each corner on your cabinet box. This strengthens the overall construction and helps keep everything square.

Crown Molding

A decorative molding installed where interior walls meet the ceiling and also atop doors, windows, and cabinets.

Dado Joint

A locking construction joint that connects two pieces by cutting a channel into one and a section that fits into that channel in another.

Distressed

Cabinets that have been made to look older or more rugged on purpose. See also: Antiqued.

Dovetailed

Drawers that are held together by a dovetail “locking” joint (see photo). This interlocking joint creates a stronger drawer with a larger holding capacity.

Dowel Joint

A locking construction joint made by doweling two pieces together.

Euro-style Cabinets

A sleek, ultra-modern style featuring frameless cabinets and flush-fitting drawers. Usually entails very little hardware and flat surfaces. Also known as frameless or contemporary cabinets

Frameless Cabinets

Cabinets constructed without a face frame so that the door attaches directly to the sidewall of the cabinet. Also known as “full access” or Euro-style cabinetry.

Full Extension Drawers

A cabinet drawer that opens completely, so that the entire contents of the drawer are visible and accessible. Also known as full access drawers.

Full Overlay Doors

Cabinet doors that cover the entire cabinet face frame, resulting in an even surface.

Glazed/Cabinet Glazing

Adding a second color to your cabinets to bring out the architectural details. Examples include using a contrasting color in the cabinet grooves or shading the cabinet doors (see photos). Typically found in more traditional/farmhouse styles.

Inset Cabinets

A style of cabinets where the doors and drawers fit inside of the cabinet face frame opening, giving a full view of the cabinet frame. Can be combined with edged detail or colored inserts. Creates a traditional or heritage craftsman look.

Lazy Susan

A cabinet with a rotating tray design that is convenient and provides easy access for storage. Some varieties are known as half-moon lazy Susans or half Susans.

MDF

(Modern Density Fiberboard) is a dense, waste-wood product made from wood fiber that is often used for cabinets, shelving, and furniture. Similar to particleboard and usually has a finish.

Melamine

Melamine cabinets are made by heat sealing a pressed wood, fiberboard, or plywood with melamine resin, a nitrogen-based chemical compound found in various home items. Known for its white laminate finish.

Metabox

An all-in-one drawer and drawer glide.

Mitered

A term referring to the joining of cabinet doors that describes the joint. To tell if a cabinet has a mitered joint, look at a corner on the front of the cabinet door. If the boards join at an angle, it is mitered. If they sit perpendicular (or at a 90-degree angle) to each other, they are cope and stick.

Mullion

A type of cabinet door that has glass panels instead of solid wood. Resembles window panes with the glass panels being divided by horizontal and/or vertical bars.

Particleboard

A waste-wood product made by hot pressing sawdust with adhesives to create cabinets, shelving, and furniture. See also: MDF.

Peninsula

A kitchen island that is connected to the rest of the countertops, resulting usually in a U-shape. Often serves as the divider between the kitchen and the dining or living room area.

Plywood

A waste-wood product made by gluing together thin layers of wood.There are several grades of plywood that vary in thickness and quality.

Roll-Out Trays/Shelves

Shelves that slide out from within the cabinets, putting stored items easily in arms reach. See also: Metabox.

Rustic

A cabinet style that is warm, natural, and relaxed with rugged or matte finishes that accentuate the wood.

Seeded Glass

A wavy glass that is peppered with tiny bubbles, suitable for all kinds of decor. Also known as seedy glass.

Shaker

A cabinet style featuring doors with recessed panels, minimal adornments, and light colors or natural finishes

Soft-Close Drawers

A cabinet drawer equipped with a soft-close slide, allowing it to close silently and with ease instead of slamming shut.

Soft-Close Hinges

A type of cabinet hinge that allows your doors to close silently and with ease instead of slamming shut.

Spice Rack

A cabinet made especially to conventionally store and organize bottles of seasonings and spices.

Toe Kick

The recessed area between your cabinet bases and the floor, named such because it’s a space for your toes to fit comfortably as you work at a countertop.

Valance

An accessory that adds a touch of detail or design to cabinets, often connecting the cabinets to the left and right of a sink or stove, or added to the top of upper cabinets.

Wine Rack

A specialty kitchen cabinet or shelving space made for housing wine and/or wine glasses.